The famous dramatist and architect bought Chargate Farm and Wood and built a house for himself.
The Claremont estate has a rich and fascinating history, a summary of which can be found below. Alternatively you can download a free copy of A Brief History of Claremont. For further information please read The Story of Claremont and The Chronicle of Claremont School, both by Phyllis M Cooper, and Fan Court School, 1932 - 1968 by JRM Butler.
Sir John Vanbrugh
The Duke of Newcastle
The Duke bought the estate from Vanbrugh, changing the name to Claremont after inheriting the title Earl of Clare. He commissioned Vanbrugh to enlarge the house and create the gardens on a lavish scale, including building the Belvedere on the 'mount' in 1715. As Prime Minister he entertained George II here.
Lord Clive of Plassey (Clive of India)
On his return from India Clive acquired Claremont from the Duke of Newcastle's widow and demolished the house because it was on a damp site. He commissioned Capability Brown to build him the present house and remodel the park. His family kept the estate until 1786 after his death in 1774.
Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg
On the occasion of the marriage in 1816 of the Prince Regent's only daughter, Charlotte Augusta, to Leopold of Saxe-Coburg , the Government granted Claremont to them for life which entitled Prince Leopold, later King of the Belgians, to retain it for his own use after the early death of the Princess in 1817. Leopold had an annual income of £50,000, much of which he spent on improvements to the house and estate.
Former King Louis Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie
The last King and Queen of the French were forced to flee from France with all their family following the 1848 Revolution. Leopold, now King of the Belgians, offered them the use of Claremont and Louis Philippe died there in 1850. His family stayed on until Marie-Amelie's death in 1866.
Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, was Leopold’s sister. As a child Victoria spent long periods at Claremont, the home of her "beloved uncle", and continued her interest in the place for the whole of her life. After Leopold’s death in 1865 the estate reverted to the Crown and Parliament granted it to the Queen for her life. Later she acquired personal ownership of it.
The Duke and Duchess of Albany
Queen Victoria granted the house to the Duke of Albany, her youngest son, on his marriage to Princess Helena of Waldeck. They had a daughter, Princess Alice (later known as Princess Alice of Athlone). The Duke died aged 30 shortly before the birth of their son Charles Edward.
Sir William Corry
As director of the Cunard Shipping Line Corry made many improvements to the interior of the mansion and began to sell off the park for housing development.
Claremont Fan Court School
The Governors of Clear View, a girls' boarding school in Norwood, bought the Mansion and changed the name of the school to Claremont School. They later acquired other areas including White Cottage and the walled garden, the top fields and the present playing fields.
In 1978 Claremont School amalgamated with Fan Court School, a boys' prep school in Longcross, to become Claremont Fan Court School.